Rotterdam ready for tense night: Thousands of Rangers fans expected at Feyenoord

De Kuip stadium in Rotterdam
De Kuip stadium in RotterdamWouter Engler / Wikimedia Commons

Rotterdam is preparing for a big night. Feyenoord is facing off against the Rangers from Glasgow, Scotland in De Kuip on Thursday evening, and rumors are circulating that 10 thousand Rangers fans were expected in Rotterdam and Amsterdam. With Rotterdam mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb recently reducing police presence at football matches due to police capacity problems, it is set to be a tense night.

"We are prepared", a Rotterdam police spokesperson said to NL Times when asked about the Thursday night match in the context of Mayor Aboutaleb's recent announcement. "We have enough police officers in uniform and plain clothes, and there's very good contact with the Rangers club, and the police in Amsterdam and IJmuiden", she said. There is "no worry", she said, stating that the police presence would be more than adequate.

The Scottish supporters had access to 3 thousand tickets in a special section of De Kuip stadium, and some also bought tickets in the Feyenoord sections, according to British media reports. The rest plan to fill Dam Square in Amsterdam. Videos of fights and skirmishes at Dam Square on Wednesday night already spread across social media platforms.

Feyenoord called on its supporters to behave themselves on Thursday night. Last week UEFA banned Feyenoord supporters from attending the away match against FC Porto in the Europa League on December 12th, after Feyenoord fans lit fireworks and threw objects on the field during a match against BSC Young Boys on October 24th. Feyenoord appealed against this punishment, and is doing everything in its power to make sure their fans can attend the FC Porto match. "But if we do not behave against the Rangers, the appeal is already hopeless", the team said. 

The Feyenoord vs Rangers match starts at 6:55 p.m. A Feyenoord victory would bring them level with Rangers on points in Group G. There are two match days remaining at the group stage of the Europa League. After four matches, the first place Young Boys from Bern, Switzerland, held a one goal head-to-head edge on Rangers. Feyenoord, in third, was tied on points with Porto, with the Rotterdam club holding the advantage on group goal differential.

Feyenoord has a big job ahead of it. Partly due to a number of injuries, coach Dick Advocaat, brought in to rescue the team after a series of losses, doesn't think Feyenoord is the favorite for this match. "I would find it a surprise if we managed to win", he said, according to the Telegraaf.